Probably the most controversial move that DC is making is throwing Justice League out there as soon as they can. We don’t know if it’s going to work, but once again we have the Marvel blueprint to base it on. Is that fair? No. But it is all we really have to go by.
Luckily, there’s a lot of great Justice League tales to go with and a wealth of influence from past creators. I could see it having a bizarro-Avengers effect on the DC Universe, creating interest in these characters that will springboard them off into their own movies. It could happen.
At least there’s the possibility that the comics could have an effect on them. I tend to view Grant Morrison’s entire JLA run as one big cluster of awesome ideas in a crazy nutty coating, but they’re the most popular version of the team. The New 52 has certainly done its best to ensure that Justice League is one of their flagship titles (aside from Batman). And I don’t think you can discount those fantastic team stories from the 70s. Goofy fun that featured a variety of heroes in and out of the door.
Clearly I think JLA should be more of the diagram for how this team should act, giving each their own little persona to shine with, while keeping together the point that this is indeed a team and not just Batman with some other people. And if the New 52 influence is there, I have to give it a lot of credit for at least trying to make Aquaman look bad ass. It took a while, but I think he’s close to being there.
Batman V. Superman
World’s Finest has been around for ages. When you can get your two flagship characters together anywhere, it’s bound to sell at least a few copies. The problem with those old stories is how absolutely silly they are. They are a testament to the trouble brewing within DC Comics during the 50s and 60s, where continuity took a back seat to things like Bat-Mite and the Super Pets.
Modern day views them a little different, always trying to put them at odds while keeping them best friends. I think two modern meetings really help set the stage for what we will see in this movie, mainly The Dark Knight Returns, which is a mistake, and Batman: Hush by Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee.
You can point to Superman/Batman or the more recent Grant Morrison-led team-up series, but I think we’re going to be looking at the previous two as more of an influence than anything. Hush features a great fight between the two where they are at odds because of the influence of Poison Ivy on Superman.
It shows Batman not fully at odds with Superman, but willing to deal with him when forced to. It doesn’t have the revolutionary undertones of The Dark Knight Returns and it still allows for some sort of relationship after the fact. Frank Miller was basically telling the last Batman tale with DKR and I think it shouldn’t have much influence past Superman fights Batman a little. Hush makes more sense and you could easily swap Lex Luthor in for Poison Ivy, creating a puppet master behind the scenes.
Man Of Steel
That leads to the second Man of Steel movie. The thing I always liked about the first one is how Superman isn’t perfect and isn’t fully the guy we know yet. I personally felt that added to it before taking it away like Kevin Costner in a tornado.
I think this would be the perfect time to call back to Joe Kelly’s modern classic Superman tale “What’s So Funny About Truth Justice And The American Way?” By the time this movie comes out, we will have had a Justice League movie. There will be an establishment of other super powered individuals. Superman should also know what he stands for at this point in the movie timeline.
Whip out The Elite or some version of them. Have them running around and causing trouble in the name of Superman from the first movie. Destroying buildings, not caring about human life, and killing. Killing is the most important part. Superman has killed in this universe. He created a dangerous precedent. Murder is OK if it justifies the means.
I say this would take naysayers head on and create a Superman movie that truly gets to the essence of the character and why he seems to live on for all of these years.